Re: Cable Access

From: 40 Frames (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Feb 12 2007 - 15:49:27 PST

> Alain, you say that cable profiders just require that access stations meet
> technical standards. If you are assuming there to be local control of
> cable access stations that are also stations suffering from technical
> problems, then the issue you raise is beside the point. After all, it has
> then been conceded that cable access should continue operation and receive
> the fees and facilities necessary. Maybe they should receive more than
> that.

I never said that cable providers "require" Access Centers to meet
technical standards. I said that cable providers equate "quality content"
with technical standards (color/luminance and audio levels).

More money won't fix the problem for Access, as the current issues have to
do with mis-management of resources. More money would make the problem

> When you say cable stations need to diversify to reach their own
> viewers, I think I am missing something. Supposing many people who
> produce content do not subscribe, there still isn't any clear reason why
> commercial content providers need to get involved. Is there an argument
> here that circumventing local control is in the interest of local
> communities?

I am saying that cable TV channels are not the best means for delivering
content given that the people who use access facilities do not themselves
subscribe to cable TV. They have decided its not worth the money to
subscribe to cable, depsite the fact that they produce content for cable.

I don't recall stating anything about commercial content providers getting
involved. I was trying to raise the issue of re-evaluating "local
control", and proposing some real solutions to how training is provided
and content is evaluated.

I caution you from assuming too much about what people from the community
want to produce. In many cases, it's "commercial" content that they are
interested in producing. They want to promote their friends products and
services, or their own business interests. Commercial is not so abstract
in this regard. People want to make a living, and they will often view
access as a low-cost means of promoting the services they provide or
products they produce.

> You object that local producers tend to emulate commercial projects.
> Let's keep in mind the conditions on cable access users. They are
> prohibited from producing advertising or any content with a commercial
> purpose. You note later that access station engineers attend the NAB
> conference to keep abreast of technological changes. This should either
> constitute a criticism of those engineers for trying to emulate
> commercial projects, or it should be considered only incidental to the
> topic under discussion. They might as well be attending Hollywood
> movies for ideas.

I was saying that Access doesn't exist in a vaccum. If the industry shifts
to HD, I don't think Access has much of a choice other than to distribute
content via the web and become something like a string of community You
Tube outlets.

> I am having some trouble with what strikes me as a denigration of local
> content providers' productions and interests. The programming is not
> very "interesting," you say, but we ought to remember who is speaking.
> There is a somewhat objectionable cast to your assessment of value, or
> at least a presumption to judge for all interested parties.
> But the substantive issue seems to be what response best addresses the
> perceived deficiencies. I fail to see how it serves the public interest
> (or artists' interests) to give up the only avenue for non-commercial
> broadcast that remains. How does relinquishing control over cable
> access increase creative production and distribution and improve the
> range of productions on offer?

I would only suggest giving up access if it cannot be reformed or pushed
in more positive directions, otherwise I feel it has little to no value
for local communities other than acting as a place where people can go to
play with video equipment and computers.

Locally, there is a cable commission that gives large grants to the arts
community, so I'm not interested in seeing the franchise fee go away. But
I also don't want to overstate the benefits of public access. Access has a
lot of problems which it needs to overcome.


Alain LeTourneau
Pamela Minty
425 SE 3rd, #400
Portland, OR 97214
United States

+1 503 231 6548
Skype ID: frames40
email suppressed

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